[13], The WSI also relied on considerable support from the Detroit community. Winter Soldier Investigations, The Sixties Project. But it’s not the testimonies’ grisly substance which give the film its substantial power, it’s their numbing repetition, the same tropes repeated with such consistency that it paints a damning portrait of institutionalized American brutality. With the exception of Pacifica Radio, the event was not covered extensively outside Detroit. The conference was titled “The Winter Soldier Investigation,” after Thomas Paine: These are the times that try men’s souls: The summertime soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Like with the Abu Ghraib scandal many decades later, the Winter Soldier testimony showed that an indifference to Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war had filtered from command down to the grunts charged with handling them. There is an O.T.C., organised by Sergeant-Major Brown... On such occasions he invariably quoted those stirring and indeed immortal lines of Rudyard Kipling which end up, 'You'll be a … At the time of its re-release, in the heat of war-mongering denial over growing evidence of the Iraq War’s grim ignominy, Winter Soldier was used as a punching bag by the right, who tried to posthumously Swift Boat the soldiers’ claims. Edited into a tight, 95-minute piece of scorching truth-telling, Winter Soldier played around at some film festivals, colleges, and one small Manhattan cinema, before mostly disappearing from the scene. (This was at least partially due to then-Senator John Kerry being a member of this group; he testify on these same matters before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just a few months later.) During the summer of 1970, the CCI were approached by Al Hubbard who had become a full-time organizer with VVAW. After the severe criticism of the accuracy of Mark Lane's book about atrocities a month before the event, the organizers of the Winter Soldier Investigation made the credibility of the participants a top priority. [14]. "We have not been able to confirm the existence of this report, but it's also possible that such records could have been destroyed or misplaced," said Naval Criminal Investigative Service public affairs specialist Paul O'Donnell. Winter Soldier is a documentary chronicle of the extraordinary Winter Soldier Investigation conducted by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in Detroit during the winter of 1971. The causes of My Lai and the brutality of the Vietnam War were rooted in the policies of our government as executed by our military commanders.". Shortly afterward, two American prisoners held in the same camp with Smith are believed to have been executed in reprisal. It was intended to publicize war crimes and atrocities by the United States Armed Forces and their allies in the Vietnam War. This included confirmation by the Pentagon that WSI participants investigated by reporters were indeed Vietnam veterans. The program consisted primarily of testimony, with 109 Vietnam veterans to appear on panels arranged by unit so they could corroborate each other's reports. [27] Nixon aides formed the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace, according to Colson, as a "counterfoil" to Kerry and the VVAW, and they did everything they could to boost the group. [37] Studies have shown that black soldiers suffered disproportionately more casualties than white soldiers at the beginning of the war. Dean Robb and Ernie Goodman solicited donations from their fellow local attorneys and several clergymen arranged housing for the witnesses. The event's primary sponsor was an organization called Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), although other organizations participated as well. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, telling of inaccurate body counts, and recounting the process of destroying a village. "I don't think Lewy is interested in presenting any of [the Winter Soldier testimony] as truthful," said University of Richmond history professor Ernest Bolt. Seven of the 142 total participants would provide testimony at both events. Decades on, Winter Soldier can seem an anachronism with its lack of framing devices and narration, the testimony just laid out there in stark relief, with the viewer mostly left to fend for themselves; a potential problem in these ahistorical times. In addition, film footage of the event, as well as some pre-event and post-event footage, and commentary can be found in Winter Soldier: A film / Winterfilm Collective in association with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Is ‘The Irishman’ Scorsese’s ‘JFK’? Those who wanted to testify were carefully screened by the officers of VVAW, and care was taken to verify the service records and testimony of the veterans. When future Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, then a decorated Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve (Inactive), later spoke before a Senate Committee, he explained, "We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. VVAW did not want to lose the monetary support of Lane and Fonda, so the CCI split from the project. Almost worse, however (and here is where, so far at least, the Vietnam-Iraq parallels seem to lessen), is the absolute disregard for civilian life. [11][12], After the organizers of the national hearings separated into two groups, they each developed their own events. "[6] All veterans participating in Winter Soldier were required to bring their discharge papers (DD-214s) and IDs. After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka … [ Read More ] By OnTheBox. They were also ordered to deny all knowledge of involvement of American troops in Laos. About Milliarium Zero Scott Shimabukuro, Racism Panel. [49][50] Due to the disturbing nature of the subject matter about an ongoing war, it got little distribution and support at that time and had been archived by its creators, collectively called the Winterfilm Collective. Bolt said it is impossible to tell whether Lewy fairly characterized the naval investigative report because no other historian had seen it. In December, the Post reviewed the film "Winter Soldier," a newly released 1970s agitprop piece documenting the Vietnam Veterans Against the War's horrific, unsubstantiated allegations of routine war crimes by U.S. troops in Vietnam. In a February 7, 1971 article he wrote that "much of what they said had been reported or televised before, even from Vietnam. [5], The groundwork for what would become the Winter Soldier Investigation was laid by Jeremy Rifkin, Tod Ensign, Michael Uhl and Bob Johnson of CCI. The testifying veterans were usually grouped by branch of military service and geographic location of service. Thus it should come as little surprise that while the events described in Winter Soldier took place during the Vietnam conflict, the 2006 home video release of this 1972 documentary more or less coincides with recent, eerily similar revelations regarding the activities of U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq, including the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the alleged slaughter of civilians in the town of … [45], Immediately following the WSI, Senator George McGovern and Representative John Conyers announced that they were calling for congressional investigations based on the testimony. [42] This notion was also projected into medical treatment of soldiers and POWs. It chronicles the Winter Soldier Investigation, a group of hearings that occurred in 1971, in which Vietnam veterans (including future senator and presidential candidate John Kerry) who opposed the war gathered in Detroit to testify against the atrocities they witnessed or committed against Vietnamese soldiers, unarmed civilians, children and prisoners of war. Scott Sigmund Gartner and Gary M. Segura. [12]. What was different here was the number of veterans present." Like other veterans, Mr. Camil - whose testimony at the Winter Soldier Investigation inspired Graham Nash's song "Oh, Camil!" Winterfilm, Inc., 1972. (2000, February). Winter Soldier is a 1972 documentary film chronicling the Winter Soldier Investigation, which took place in Detroit, Michigan, from January 31 to February 2, 1971. He sent the testimony to the Department of Defense, the Department of State asked Marine Commandant, Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., to investigate the allegations. Discharged servicemen from each branch of military service, as well as civilian contractors, medical personnel and academics, all gave testimony about war crimes they had committed or witnessed during the years 1963–1970.[1][2][3].